Week 39: Mexico City, Guanajuato & San Miguel. Mexico.

My first stop was notoriously dangerous Mexico city. I was delighted to meet Chloe, a friend from Dublin who is traveling for 13 weeks and we happened to pass through Mexico city at the same time. Things were off to a rough start when a lovely Mexican lad found my passport on the floor in the middle of the airport. It had fallen out of the hood of my hoodie ?? Like who knows anymore.

I arrived in the middle of the night to a lovely hostel called (El hostel Massiocare). The whole hostel is based on the 4th floor of a building and had an amazing rooftop, kitchen and people. The walk up the stairs is the most exercise I have done in weeks! Myself and Chlo just spent our first day catching up on the last 10 months over way too many g and t’s. It was perfect. Thanks Josh for the donation of a bottle of bombay. It went down way too easily. The next day we did a free walking tour around the city where we ended up adopting another Irish guy Dave, who is also traveling for 1 year. The guide wasn’t the best but handy to be brought to all of the hot spots. My sense of direction isn’t the may west so suited me down to the ground.

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People watching in Mexico City

Unfortunately, I had a rough Mexican introduction. While eating delicious tacos in Mercado San Yuan 400 euro was robbed from my bag. I have no idea how but apparently they are experts at it, especially in Mexico City. To date on this trip I have lost/ been robbed a record amount of things. But on this occasion I was surprised as I’m generally really careful with my money bag. I know stupid carrying that kind of cash but I had just come from the atm.  400 euro is a huge amount of money when traveling especially when you have been slumming it in tents for the past few weeks. But money comes and goes and you have to forget about these type of situations. I’m just grateful I wasn’t attacked and that the tacos were delicious. No matter what happens things could always be worse.

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Bloody tacos
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Central Plaza Mexico city
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Just your standard post office. GPO hasn’t got a patch on this lad.
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Mexico’s beautiful buildings

So later that day Elizabeth (our Aussie friend from the hostel) and Dave had bought tickets to go see the band Interpol (never heard of them but apparently they are v good). They bought the tickets from vendors on the street as it was booked out online. Both huge music fans were v excited. We had a few pre-drinks on the hostel’s roof terrace before the gig. Half an hour later they both rocked back laden down with wine turns out the tickets were fakes!! So all in all an expensive day for everyone involved. We all drowned our sorrows listening to Interpol on Elizabeth’s phone while drinking too much wine. Very grim but quite amusing all the same. If you don’t laugh you will cry. Interpol are coming to Dublin in November so that might be on the cards.

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Amazing murals, Mexico city

Next day was to be a cultural one. Generally speaking I’m not the biggest lover of museums and tend to avoid them. My attention span wouldn’t be great and I get bored quite easily. However, on this occasion Chlo had booked to go see Frida Kahlo’s house, a famous Artist in Mexico who was married to Diego Rivera (another famous artist). They are legends in Mexico and of course I had never even heard of them. Ever the organizer Chloe had booked tickets online otherwise you que for 3 hours!

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Viva la Vida never a truer word
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Frida’s studio in her original house

Anyway it did not disappoint and it was really interesting learning about her life and seeing where she grew up. She was definitely an eccentric, unique and talented lady. Frida is so famous over here that wherever you turn there is a restaurant or hotel named after her. There is also a movie made after her featuring Salma Hayak which is worth a watch.

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Frids Kahlo

Afterwards we made our way to the Sumaya museum ( two in one-day serious over). We mainly wanted to go to the Sumaya Museum just to see the building itself. It was incredible and I felt like I was in New York.

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Museo Sumaya
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Gates of hell, Museo Sumaya

It was so nice catching up with friends from home and a welcomed break from the usual travel small talk of ‘where are you from’, ‘where have you been’ and ‘where are you going’. I love meeting randomers and never knowing who you are going to meet or what kind of experience you’re going to have. Sometimes it’s nice not to have to make an effort and speak in drunken Irish and reminisce about home. Chlo it’s been fantastic and enjoy the rest of Mexico.

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Elizabeth, Chlo and myself at Frida’s gaf

My next stop was a place called Guanajuato which claims to be one of Mexico’s most beautiful towns and you can clearly see why. For centuries it was one of Mexico’s wealthiest cities because of its mines. It is made up of tumbling hills and colourful architecture. It was absolutely stunning and definitely a place I could see myself living in. I did couch surfing with a 23-year-old Mexican called Ricardo. I couldn’t have been luckier and he was so nice to me. I had my own private room with a double bed ( unheard of nowadays). On my first night he gave me a tour of the historical centre.

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Historical centre of Guanajuato at night
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Guanajuato was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998
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Main Plaza Guanajuato
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Guanajuato’s University

We tasted some traditional street food of tamales ( steamed maize stuffed with cheese and spices) and champurrado (hot drink made out of chocolate, maize and cinnamon). Delish everything here has so much flavour. I am as happy as a pig in shit with all of this glorious street food.

Ricardo has 3 business’s on the go; he owns a pharmacy, sock company and invests in property and he is only 23!!!Quite the combo. Way to make you feel inadequate my most valuable asset is my broken tent!!

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Funicular to mirador Pipila

The next day I went exploring on my own checking out the markets, buildings and amazing viewpoints of the city. Later that evening I met up with Ricardo where we went to an Art Exhibition of one of his friends. This was a fancy affair with everyone dolled up to the 99’s. I felt and looked like someone who was just picked off the side of the street (which I kind of was).

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Local vendors in the Mercado Hidalgo
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Getting lost in Mexican markets
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People watching in Mercado Hidalgo

It was an excellent night where I had a lesson on how to speak Mexicano (mainly just learning how to curse). I was then introduced to Guanajuato’s best tacos. These were next level with homemade taco shells , bbq chorizo, spicy salsa and salad. Eating them off the bonnet of cars was just what I imagined Mexico’s street food to be like. I really like spicy food since working with a Mexican in Cusco, Brenda. I realise there is spice and then there is Mexican spice!! Nothing an ice-cold corona can’t fix.

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Mexico’s street food
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All of this for €1.50

That night a gang of Ricardo’s mates came back to the house. They were all really intrigued about hurling so we all sat down to watch some while drinking barry’s tea. Couldnt have felt more Irish. I had an amazing couch surfing experience and love the local and authentic experiences you have when you do it. That is why I travel after all. Money can’t buy these type of experiences and I would recommend couch surfing to everyone.

I’ve said it before when something bad happens something good is just around the corner and that was the case here. My faith in Mexicans has been fully restored. Myself and Ricardo will hopefully meet in Japan for the rugby world cup. Ricardo has great taste with a Leinster rugby ball hanging proudly on his mantel piece.

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Mexico’s colourful houses
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Words cannot describe how beautiful this place is
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The locals

After saying my goodbyes to Ricardo I headed towards another gorgeous colonial town called San Miguel de Allende. It claims to be even nicer than Guanajuato and is described as hauntingly beautiful in all the guidebooks. It is popular amongst American tourists with lots of money. This place is dolla dolla bill. It is stunning but almost too good-looking for me. When someone is that good-looking it is almost intimidating. I preferred the more rustic feel of Guanajuato. Still, a stunning place to pass the day.

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Just your standard church

I just spent the day there eating ice cream, quesadillas and gorditas. So gorditas kind of remind me of pita breads but are made out of maize. They are stuffed with beans, spicy salsa and whatever meat is going. For 50c they are the bees knees. Everything is completely fresh and made right on front of you.

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San Miguel’s stunning streets
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Not over the top at all

My next plan of action is to travel further north to San Luis Potosi where I am going to work in a hostel for the next 2 weeks. Looking forward to having a base for a while and a much-needed break from the backpack and buses !!

 

 

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